As processor shipments slump, AMD loses ground to Intel

The third-quarter x86 processor market share numbers are in, and they're not good for AMD. According to Mercury Research data quoted by PC World, the perennial underdog saw its share of the market decline to 16.1%, down from 18.8% a year ago. Intel's share grew from 80.6% to 83.3% over the same period, with Via picking up the remainder. Although the story doesn't quote specifics for different chip segments, it says AMD lost more ground on the desktop front than it did in the mobile space. You may recall that AMD had to write down $100 million of unsold inventory in the third quarter, mostly made up of Llano-based APUs.

While AMD and Intel jockeyed for position, the x86 processor market shrunk as a whole. Shipments were down 8.6% from the third quarter of 2011 and 4% from the second quarter of this year. Q3 usually has stronger sales due to the back-to-school season, but that didn't happen this time around. The impending arrival of Windows 8 may have caused some folks to delay upgrades. An "uncertain economic environment" is also blamed for the drop in processor shipments.

Of course, we can't ignore the growing popularity of tablets, which seems to have diverted consumer interest away from PCs. IDG News reports that Q3 tablet shipments were up 49.5% over last year. Interestingly, though, the size of the tablet market increased by only 6.7% over the second quarter of this year. The next couple of quarters will be interesting to watch as Windows 8 and Windows RT convertibles blur the line between tablets and traditional PCs.

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